Psoriasis is classified as an autoimmune disorder, which manifests on the skin. It happens as a result of the immune system mistaking healthy skin cells as foreign bodies, and causing them to grow rapidly. Psoriasis is not contagious, but often sufferers find themselves being treated by others as if it was, which can be extremely upsetting.
Initially, psoriasis may appear as small scaly patches, but can later develop all over the body, if not controlled. Most often psoriasis appears on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet, or lower back. The cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, but there appears to be a link to certain genes, as well as from withdrawal of corticosteroids; the very drugs used to treat it; or environmental influences like cold, or dry weather. Psoriasis affects both males and females, and can first appear at any age; although teenagers and young adults are most commonly diagnosed.
Having psoriasis can result in severe discomfort, especially if enhanced care is not provided. Luckily, there are many psoriasis home remedies, which you can benefit from, to make your psoriasis more comfortable.
Aloe is one of the most established skin care products available. Aloe has long been used to hasten the healing of minor cuts and burns, but lately has been found to be one of the top psoriasis home remedies. Not only does it help to get rid of the dryness and redness of the skin, it also alleviates the itchiness considerably. It can either be extracted from the plant or bought at a pharmacy, and applied directly to the affected areas. Aloe Vera needs to be applied 3 times everyday, for 3-4 weeks to see a major change on your skin.
Similar to Aloe Vera, Vinegar is used to relieve minor burns or inflammatory skin conditions, in addition to being an antiseptic. To apply to affected lesions or plaques, simply soak cotton balls in the solution and dab on to the affected areas. If your fingernails and toenails are infected, you can pour some vinegar in a bowl and dip your nails in for a few minutes. Apple cider vinegar is also particularly good for treating psoriasis - mix one cup to 4 litres of water, and apply as needed.
If psoriasis affects mainly your scalp, apply a bit of warm olive oil to your scalp before taking a bath. It will help soften and remove plaques, rather than chemically burning them away, which is common with most dandruff shampoos.
One of the best DIY natural dry scalp treatments to get rid of redness and soothe the skin is mixing 1-2tsp Vitamin E oil (or 1-2tbsp aloe vera), with 1 drop of lavender/peppermint/tea tree oil. Massage the mixture into your scalp and let the treatment soak in for about 30 minutes (if you have long hair, tie it up loosely in a bun). Then shampoo your hair with a gentle aloe vera shampoo and follow with an aloe vera conditioner. Use once a week and not only will it help to keep your scalp moisturized and flake-free, it also smells great too!
Epsom salts mixed with warm water (not hot as this can make psoriasis worse) is one of the cheapest psoriasis home remedies there is and has been used by generations of people to relieve the symptoms of dry skin conditions. Epsom Salts will help to ease inflammation, as well as aid in the removal of plaques, to leave your skin softer and smoother. Make sure you apply a good moisturizer when you get out of the bath for double the benefits.
Eating a couple of servings a week of salmon, tuna or sardines, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, may help to reduce inflammation; the hallmark of psoriasis. Fish oil supplements are also available over the counter in capsule form, from chemists and natural food stores.
Some studies have shown that fish oil can protect against heart disease and boost the immune system. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, so this natural psoriasis treatment could help to improve your symptoms. However don’t take fish oil if you’re on blood thinners, as it can raise your risk for bleeding.
Cayenne Pepper possesses anti-inflammatory properties, along with the ability to promote healing. Two studies reviewed in the Nov 1998 Issue of Archives of Dermatology showed that 0.025 % capsaicin cream, made from cayenne pepper, significantly decreased inflammation and plaque formation. Creams containing capsaicin can be easily obtained over the counter in most pharmacies, but don’t apply directly onto broken skin, as the burning will be immense. It takes about a week to work, but stick with it as it has been proven to help.
This is one of the more commonly used psoriasis home remedies, especially when left overnight on small lesions. Used in conjunction with baking soda, it has been found to work exceptionally well when used on the foot. It is loaded with antioxidants and can control psoriasis flare ups to a large extent. Dip cotton wool into the oil and apply liberally onto the lesions. Leave for a couple of hours, or over night and then wash off with lukewarm water. Use for a couple of weeks, to reduce the frequency and intensity of the condition.
Banana peel contains a unique fatty acid, which bolsters the immune system. It helps to reduce incidence of flare-ups, as well as controlling inflammation. To extract the oil from banana peel, it needs to be boiled and then separated from the water. But you can also rub the inner area of the peel to your lesions, to soothe your skin and reduce inflammation.
A drug commonly used for liver disorders, it has been found to be an effective, yet relatively unknown psoriasis home remedy. It aids in blood flow and clearing bile acids, which may improve cholesterol. It also works to decrease abnormal cell growth, which is the root problem of psoriasis. Take extract of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) twice a day, for at least three months to see results.
Whilst these remedies can help to ease the symptoms of psoriasis, it is also worth avoiding the things that can make the condition worse and cause psoriasis symptoms to flare up.
Things to avoid include:
- Skin injury - An injury to the skin can cause psoriasis patches to form anywhere on the body, including the site of the injury. This can also include injuries to your nails or nearby skin whilst trimming your nails. So be careful to protect yourself.
- Stress and anxiety - Stress can cause psoriasis to flare up suddenly, or can make symptoms worse. Try meditation, deep breathing, yoga, massage, or playing some calming music at times when you find yourself becoming anxious or stressed.
- Infection - Infections such as strep throat can cause psoriasis to appear suddenly, especially in children. Always wash your hands and discard used tissues, to prevent the cross contamination of bacteria.
- Certain medicines - Some medicines, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), beta-blockers, and lithium, have been found to make psoriasis symptoms worse. Talk with your doctor. You may be able to take an alternative medication.
- Overexposure to sunlight - Short periods of sun exposure is seen to reduce psoriasis in most people, but too much sun can damage the skin and cause skin cancer. Sunburn can also trigger flares of psoriasis. So always apply sunscreen, even on cloudy days when it can easily catch us unwittingly.
- Alcohol - Alcohol can increase symptoms and reduce the effectiveness of psoriasis treatments, so try to replace alcohol with non-alcoholic alternatives.
- Smoking – Try to quit smoking as it can also make psoriasis worse.
Although these remedies have been proven to significantly help ease the symptoms associated with psoriasis, living with a skin disorder can be an emotionally difficult experience. Skin Camouflage can be a lifeline for those wanting to minimise the visual appearance of psoriasis and other skin conditions; helping to boost ones confidence and self-esteem. If you would like to find out more, please contact me to find out how Skin Camouflage can help you.
Please note, always remember to consult your doctor before attempting one of the psoriasis home remedies.